At a round table event in Munich, Irish Minister Richard Bruton met with EnOcean and SolarPrint to debate how European SMEs can drive future success through international collaboration and technical innovation
The European Union's economy is carried by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), representing 98% of EU business activity. Yesterday in Munich, the Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, met with green start-ups EnOcean and SolarPrint to exchange views on opportunities and challenges for European SMEs.
EnOcean and SolarPrint are both start-ups in the field of cleantech. EnOcean GmbH is the originator of patented energy harvesting wireless technology. Headquartered in Oberhaching near Munich, Germany, the company was founded in 2001. SolarPrint Limited, founded in 2008 in Dublin, is a developer of high performance indoor light energy harvesting technology developed to put an end to the need for disposable batteries in wireless sensors. EnOcean and SolarPrint are both members of the EnOcean Alliance, a non-profit organisation which offers companies worldwide, who integrate the energy harvesting wireless technology into products and solutions, a platform for knowledge exchange and marketing support.
On March 19, Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, took advantage of his Munich visit around St. Patrick's Day to meet Laurent Giai-Miniet, CEO of EnOcean, Rory Timlin, General Manager and Roy Horgan, Business Development Director & Co Founder of SolarPrint. The meeting covered three main issues: How can SMEs successfully bring innovation to market? What role does collaboration play? And what can the European Union improve to support business growth of SMEs?
"EnOcean attracts a great deal of interest from the market as well as from the investment community because of the huge potential of our energy harvesting wireless technology," says Laurent Giai-Miniet. "We enable batteryless automation devices and systems to make buildings more energy-efficient based on sustainable, resource-saving technologies. As buildings are one of the world's main power consumers, such systems are a necessity if ambitious governmental objectives for energy efficiency are to be realised. Besides our innovation strength, our partnerships were and are another engine for growth and success. International collaboration with companies like SolarPrint opens up new markets for our technologies and advances the internationalisation of our business. Since the foundation of the EnOcean Alliance, we, together with our partners, created a fundamental collaboration framework for innovative solutions. When it comes to strategies for more energy-efficiency, the EU and its national governments could set a good example and actively support programmes for innovative cleantech solutions of European SMEs to make European buildings greener."
"EnOcean will be a route to market for SolarPrint's high performance light energy harvesting products for wireless sensors. This is a great example for a successful cooperation. Nevertheless, SMEs in Europe are faced with the challenge to compete and grow to their full global potential so they prosper and create more jobs and more sustainable companies. In my opinion, the EU should take a more active role both from a policy and funding perspective to encourage earlier a culture of growth and to support SMEs competing against better financed and more aggressive counterparts from the US or Asia," complements Roy Horgan.
The Minister Richard Bruton summarises the meeting: "I was delighted to meet EnOcean and SolarPrint in Munich and witness how the cooperation between a German and Irish SME is creating a powerful driver for innovation. Small and medium-sized businesses are key to innovation across the EU. It is important that the proper supports are provided to the efforts of such companies and ensures the correct environment is in place to enable them to flourish and become an engine of jobs growth."
Richard Bruton continues: "One of my priorities during the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union is to ensure that proper priority is given to SMEs. That is why we are convening an informal meeting of the competitiveness Ministers in Europe in May, to focus on topics like access to finance and global opportunities for SMEs. Speaking to these two dynamic companies has reinforced my feeling that these issues have to be addressed."
Energy out of air
EnOcean's technology uses the principle of energy harvesting to power wireless modules using motion, light or temperature differences in the surrounding environment. So, the press of a button generates enough energy to transmit a wireless signal and turn on a light for instance. This enables wireless switches, intelligent window handles, temperature, moisture, occupancy or light sensors, which work completely without batteries and are therefore energy-autonomous. A key market for energy harvesting wireless technology is building and home automation. There are already EnOcean-based wireless components in use in more than 250,000 buildings worldwide. Besides this market, the technology is being adopted in machine-to-machine systems and in transportation and logistics applications.
A unique aspect of SolarPrint's technology is the ability to tune its products to maximise its performance in indoor light. This performance increase can provide as much as 60% more power being made available in very low lighting conditions indoors. SolarPrint's recently launched SP5848 multi sensor series will be made available through EnOcean and to the EnOcean Alliance members so they can begin to evaluate the next generation of light energy harvesting products and unlock the potential of high-performance self-powered devices.
Founded in 2008, by Dr. Mazhar Bari, Andre Fernon and Roy Horgan, SolarPrint is a leader in the development of Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC), a printable photovoltaic technology which converts light from any source into energy. SolarPrint's technology harnesses more power from indoor light than any alternative. The SolarPrint technology platform provides an autonomous power source for intelligent wireless devices, removing the constraints of mains power wiring or disposable battery replacement. The company is based in Sandyford Dublin, Ireland.
Further information is available at: www.solarprint.ie
EnOcean is the originator of patented energy harvesting wireless technology. Headquartered in Oberhaching, near Munich, the company manufactures and markets energy harvesting wireless modules for use in building and industrial applications as well as in further application fields such as smart home, smart metering, logistics or transport. EnOcean technology combines miniaturised energy converters with ultra-low-power electronics and robust RF communication. For 10 years, leading product manufacturers have chosen wireless modules from EnOcean to enable their system ideas. EnOcean is a promoter of the EnOcean Alliance, a consortium of companies from the world's building sector that has set itself the aim of creating innovative solutions for sustainable buildings. Self-powered wireless technology from EnOcean has been successfully deployed in more than 250,000 buildings worldwide. The EnOcean wireless protocol is standardised internationally as ISO/IEC 14543-3-10, which is optimised for wireless solutions with ultra-low power consumption and energy harvesting.
For more information visit www.enocean.com